Alibaba is buying an interest in more bricks to complement its billions of clicks.The web giant said Monday it would acquire 36.2 percent of Chinese hypermarket Sun Art Retail for $2.88 billion with an eye toward helping the retailer digitize its business.The investment is part of a strategic alliance Alibaba is forming with Chinese retailers Auchan Retail and Ruentex Group. Alibaba is buying its stake in Sun Art from Ruentex, which will still hold 4.7 percent of the firm, and Auchan will boost its stake in Sun Art to 36.2 percent.Alibaba has been investing in retail to better know and connect with consumers, capturing data and engaging them, for instance through payments, while they’re shopping in physical stores.Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s chief executive officer, said the partnership would help “redefine traditional retail through digital transformation.”It could also help give Alibaba’s New Retail initiative more of an international slant since Auchan has operations in 17 countries.Zhang said, “Going forward, we will explore various opportunities together with Auchan and try to improve our services in [overseas] markets.”Alibaba, which is known primarily for its massive online marketplace business, has a growing number of other brick-and-mortar initiatives in the works. The effort was on display during Singles’ Day, which drove $25.3 billion in sales and sought to bring more stores into the shopping celebration.The company launched Hema, a digitized physical supermarket chain in 2015 and this year purchased an 18 percent stake in Hong Kong-listed Lianhua Supermarket and helped take department store chain Intime private.Last month, at the WWD CEO Summit, Alibaba president Michael Evans said: “New Retail is something we do today and we’ll be doing a lot more of in the future. It’s a very exciting part of our business. Some of our competitors appear ready to kill the off-line retailer. We don’t want to, we want to support the off-line retailer and integrate it with online activities. Look at a market like China where 15 percent of total retail is online, that means 85 percent is off-line. We’re interested in the 85 percent of the growth opportunity in addition to the 15 percent. The merchants love it because they’re working with all the data that is incredibly valuable in deciding how they’re spending their marketing and advertising dollars. The other side is the consumer side: they want to shop online and off-line. Young people still want to go to the mall. People are not going to do all things online. It’s true in the U.S. and it’s also true in China. So they need to be integrated.”
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.